It’s Still “the Economy Stupid”… And Discontentment is Coming Along As Promised!
There’s a quote that many mistakenly attribute to the Bible concerning money that goes like this, “Money is the root of all evil”. I’m sure by now you have an idea of what little yet supremely significant word is missing that makes all the difference, right?
Money—material wealth or the “security” and many comforts it provides—is great when it’s a good thing purposely and proactively used for propagating other good and other-centered things.
But when a GOOD THING is made an ONLY THING it becomes not simply a BAD THING but a god, an idol, that demands as much of us as The One True God… yet with none of the mercies associated with, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
On the contrary, all GOOD THINGS made ONLY THINGS create an idol structure of threatened anonymity and abandonment (the opposite of contentment) deep within the heart and will eventually destroy the heart from the inside out—beginning with a sense of existential and everyday discontentedness that colors and pollutes and diminishes every thing (RE: every thing) in life:
Every good thing is never good enough; and every bad thing is just another reminder of one’s sense of unworthiness—and the justification for skepticism, mistrust, malcontent, and “the will to power” (Friedrich Nietzsche). Never before have a people been so blessed and yet so discontented at the same time.
This is why… this is the reason… this is the bottom-line of why the God of the Bible, from the beginning to the end, repeatedly says in so many ways, “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). This is a most marvelous passage that is the fruit of, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
God cares more deeply for our hearts than we could ever dare imagine or hope for—until we see His only Son brutally murdered on a cross so that our heart could be redeemed and safeguarded by faith in Him (John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 1 John 2:2).
We ignore the proper care and feeding of our heart at our own peril—personally and culturally.
So, how can we honor the cost God paid for our perpetual comfort in redemption, salvation, and eternal life in the new heaven and new earth (Revelations 21)?
Turning the Corner… What is the Cost of Our Many Creature Comforts?
Remember the one thing we all learned NEVER to do in polite company? Yes, talk about religion or politics! Nevertheless, since the Bible requires we speak the truth in love regardless of what the subject matter may be, this is a light yet meaty Training Table offering…a reminder…a plea… A feast of the heart… to encourage us:
Our relationship with God—NOT OUR RELIGION*—dictates every thing. When comfort (materialism, etc) reigns as King in the heart, all else in the life and in the culture will eventually be laid at its feet. *All religions are man-made attempts to satifiy God. Biblically-based rescue and salvation is God’s promise and process to save man.
“A new national survey of registered voters conducted by the Barna Group reveals that the issues that will most affect the candidate people support for President in the 2012 election are most likely to be those affecting their personal security and comfort. The matters that are likely to have the least impact on their choice of candidate are moral issues.”
Please read the Barna quote again…
“Politics” is Not the Only Realm in Which We Cast Our Vote!
Even though the Barna (and other corroborating research, writing) makes me very sad, it hardly comes as a huge surprise. Nor should it either discourage us or disarm us to the extent that we do nothing. God’s measure of our heavenly rewards is not based upon outcomes, but on how each of us respond to the circumstances that God has providentially orchestrated.
Please allow me to end this missive from the heart with a few points. Yes, this is just me and my feeble yet bold attempt to persuade anyone God places in my path of the merits and needs for Reformation, Revival, and Constructive Revolution (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City).
First, as a people, as a culture, we have sewn the wind and are reaping the whirlwind… in manifold, wide and deep ways. We have “sewn and reaped” for so long, so thoroughly, so systemically, and rooted idols so deeply within virtually every institution, that anything short of Jesus’ Second Coming, or a full-scale revival, will not save us.
And yet, this still leaves the people of God with LOTS to do and plenty of room to serve Him while blessing others! Satan’s main aim is to prevent unbelievers from believing, and Believers from being effective. We are called to do JUST THE OPPOSITE.
As people of true faith, we are to continue to focus on and persevere—actually ramp it up—to do what the church has always been called to do: evangelism, edification of the Saints, and benevolence.
Second, our choices of what the people of God can do may matter little to the worldly-wise, but it matters a great deal to God. And that’s all that matters. (Not to diminish to redemptive impact “on earth as it is in heaven”, but rather the need to get back to making the main thing the main thing: “Love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength…” The rest will “take care of itself”—caveats not included here. See James 2, etc. and above.)
Lastly, (per the Barna and like research) when it comes to the very disturbing fruit, the whirlwind, of maintaining and escalating our demands for more wealth, personal security and comfort—by turning a blind eye to the moral bankruptcy—all I can say to myself and those in the reach of my voice is to, a) repent, b) recount what our faith consists to test its veracity, c) renew our commitment to God and a community of faith to serve and support us in order to, Glorify God and Bless His People in every thing we ARE and DO.
Asking ourselves the sort of question, “Will my faith, my life, my family, “my vote in favor of God” be a reflection of my love for Him—or of my love for other gods, idols, or the approval of man and the world’s ways?” is a very important filter that reflects living righteously, wholly for God… or not.
We are called to “vote for God and His people” with every breath we take, and every heartbeat we can so easily presume upon each day. It’s all of God’s mercy… and His “I will never leave you nor forsake you” in, of, and through Christ Jesus.
The very least we can do is offer the first fruits of the sacrifice of our TIME, TALENTS, and TREASURE to glorify God and be a blessing to His people.
Please do a good thing, by making or re-making the only thing, the wellspring of your heart—and please don’t do it alone.
“And Jesus said, whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
Until we sup again, JohnDoz